Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Relic of the Revolution

A bit of history was rediscovered this past week as divers who were exploring Lake Ontario stumbled upon a priceless piece of the past. A 22-gun British warship that sank during the American Revolution -- in 1780 to be exact -- was found resting at the bottom of this Great Lake, where it has been residing for the past 228 years.

The ship is in remarkably good condition, according to the divers, archaeologists and historians involved in the discovery. Not only is the 80-foot ship entirely intact, but its main mast and some of the original rigging still remain. Ironically enough, this British vessel of War, which was named the HMS Ontario, met its final demise in the very lake that shares its name.

In an article from the Associated Press, Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville -- the two men who discovered the Ontario -- stated that this boat has been considered as a "holy Grail" of sorts by shipwreck and treasure enthusiasts. In addition, the article went on to state the following information regarding this historic find:

"To have a Revolutionary War vessel that's practically intact is unbelievable. It's an archaeological miracle," said Canadian author Arthur Britton Smith, who chronicled the history of the HMS Ontario in a 1997 book, "The Legend of the Lake."

The finders of the wreck said they regard it as a war grave and have no plans to raise it or remove any of its artifacts. They said the ship is still considered the property of the British Admiralty.

Although the vessel sits in an area where the water is up to 500 feet deep and cannot be reached by anyone but the most experienced divers, Kennard and Scoville declined to give its exact location, saying only that it was found off the southern shore.

The sloop was discovered resting partially on its side, with two masts extending more than 70 feet above the lake bottom.

"Usually when ships go down in big storms, they get beat up quite a bit. They don't sink nice and square. This went down in a huge storm, and it still managed to stay intact," Scoville said. "There are even two windows that aren't broken. Just going down, the pressure difference, can break the windows. It's a beautiful ship."

Smith, who was shown underwater video of the find, said: "If it wasn't for the zebra mussels, she looks like she only sunk last week."


Johnny said...

I cannot believe that I have only now found this blog. I'm a great fan and student of the American Revolution, and I really am glad to see it. I am interested in seeing more about the wreck, and the video that the article talked about. Do you know if that has been published on the web? Thanks for putting this blog up.

Brian Tubbs said...

Your posts are so thorough and excellent, Brad. I'm always impressed - even when you're wrong. Which of course is when I disagree with you. :-) But that's not often.

Anonymous said...

its really very intresting,,

thanks ,,

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